Motion Picture Life
It’s different every day
Choosing a career in film and television?
Learn more about these three segments and how they might align to your skills, values and purpose.
Directors, producers, writers
set decorators and more…
Animation, VFX, Post
sound effects and more…
What the work is like
Driving the Creative Vision
Working as a writer, director or producer means you are originating ideas and a vision for your projects, developing those core creative elements into a pitch or script, then raising funds to make your screen story.
Just as there are a huge range of stories to tell, there are as many different business models to make a screen story come alive. No two projects are the same. Most careers start with small budget projects that progress to larger stories for wider audiences. Some filmmakers remain in the realm of independent film, maintaining creative control over their projects. Some filmmakers move into larger, commercial projects.
Depending on the market interest in the idea and the complexity of the project, this fundraising process can take some time, often years. It helps to be entrepreneurial, tenacious and determined in above-the-line roles.
Where work is different every day
Below-the-line/Professional Craftspeople + Technicians
Crew (or below-the-line) work is freelance and project-based. Teams are formed within specialized departments (camera, lighting, costumes, to name a few) and work together to achieve the directors vision. Much of the work involves solving complex problems on the go, which further develops one’s skills on the job.
Project-based work also means that many crew do not work year-round, but are able to take extended breaks between projects. While many professional craftspeople and technicians belong to a union or guild, they are responsible for securing their own freelance work.
While each production is unique, and each day of production is unique, cast and location availability determines the daily production schedule, which means the work days for professional craftspeople and technicians are extended and can be very long.
Telling Stories using Creative Technology
Animation, VFX & Post Production/Creative Techs
Animation, visual effects (VFX) and post production work is also project-based. Individuals are hired for their artistic and technical skills, typically in a specialized roles and usually through standard recruitment practices such as company job boards and career fairs. There are entry level positions that allow for on-the-job learning, however, many who work in this field have some formal post-secondary education.
Due to the longer timelines in animation production, some project-based work often has far longer timelines than a live action production, meaning that the freelance project-based work can extend for months, sometimes years.
FOR CAREER SEEKERS
Take Steps to Get into #BCFilm
The colourful rings of the Creative Pathways target are like steps toward your goal to Get into #BCFilm. Unlike traditional industries, this career path requires a lot of initiative to collect knowledge, skills and networks that gradually connect you with the many freelance roles the industry offers:
- If you want to be a producer/director/writer, be ready to become an entrepreneur who works above-the-line. You will lead your own teams and projects, pitch, promote and generate demand for your ideas, and seek public and private investors to support bringing them into reality.
- If you want to work on movie sets and studios, plan on beginning with entry-level below-the-line positions to learn on the job from other artists, craftspeople and technicians. You will work your way up, learning on the job in guild-style fashion from experts in the camera, stunt, set decoration departments and more.
- If you love the digital side of storytelling, and you’re keen to work in animation, visual effects (VFX) or post production, a formal education is usually required to gain basic art and digital skills. With this training, you will become a sought-after freelancer because this segment of the industry’s workforce is in very high demand.
A Production Assistant can become a Producer by showing up to do hard work. The opportunities for advancement are immense.
~ Production Manager, Labour Market Study, 2019